Mount Kisco voters will decide whether the village will borrow up to $10.25 million to renovate the volunteer fire department’s three firehouses after trustees approved last week placing a referendum on the general election ballot.
Village trustees voted 3-1 last Monday to hold the November referendum via a series of resolutions. Mayor Michael Cindrich was absent while Trustee Karen Schleimer opposed the action.
If the referendum is approved by voters, work will be done at the Mutual Engine & Hose firehouse on East Main Street, the Green Street facility that houses the Union Hook & Ladder and Mount Kisco Fire Rescue Police and the Independent Fire Company firehouse on Lexington Avenue. There has been no significant work on the buildings in more than three decades.
One of last week’s resolutions stated there would be no adverse impacts on the environment. The two remaining resolutions authorized the village to issue bonds and borrow as much as $10.25 million for the work and to put the proposition on the ballot. The price tag includes contingency expenses.
“I feel very comfortable that we’ve done our due diligence,” Trustee Jean Farber said.
Renovations and infrastructure work on the three buildings will account for more than $6 million. Work includes enhancing energy efficiency and bringing the facilities up to code.
Other projects included in the bond are roof and window replacements; equipment upgrades; improvements to make the firehouses ADA compliant; updating antiquated electrical systems; installation of LED lighting; and replacing nonfunctioning cameras and generators.
There will also be a small addition to each firehouse that will provide room for each company and its equipment.
Earlier this year, village officials studied options to upgrade the facilities, focusing on renovation and expansion. Other alternatives included more modest renovations totaling about $6.5 million and a more than $22 million proposition to build a new firehouse and close the existing facilities.
Cindrich had said there was no land available to build a new structure and the current firehouses are centrally located within the village.
Schleimer said the board should have explored consolidating the fire departments rather than making renovations. Rather than renovating old firehouses dating back to the 1950s, the board could have considered constructing one new facility, she said.
But Markus responded that there would be no land available for one larger firehouse, and the project would be prohibitively more expensive than renovating the existing buildings.
“We believed that wasn’t a viable option,” Markus said.
Schleimer said she found it unusual that the village board, not the planning board, was the lead agency for the environmental review. She also said she wasn’t convinced that the project would have no significant adverse environmental impacts.
Key information is also missing, such as estimated interest rates, Schleimer added.
Trustee Peter Grunthal said the village is improving existing buildings, which would not harm the environment.
The work is needed for the firehouses and needs to get underway, Deputy Mayor Anthony Markus said. He said the projects would actually improve the environment.
The board agreed to have a presentation by the fire department about the projects included in the referendum at the Oct. 16 meeting.